Things were going pretty well for Mike Gillis after the Canucks’ Summer Summit. To hear him tell it, he and Roberto Luongo had a fine and good time together in Florida, with light conversation and plenty of laughs. Why, at the end of the evening, Luongo said, “You know what Mikey G? You’re all right. Pound it.” And then they fist-bumped, and they even exploded it!
There was optimism. And then the next day, Roberto Luongo went and changed his representation, dismissing Gilles Lupien as his agent and signing with CAA, led by Pat Brisson and J.P. Barry.
It was a head-scratcher. Considering Luongo will be 67, by my estimation, when his current contract runs out, many wondered what need he had with two dudes whose primary job, as most understand it, is to negotiate contracts. That’s a little like hiring a wedding planner 12 years into a marriage. Maybe Luongo just wants to renew his vows?
Many assumed the worst. Luongo still wants out, and when his current agent couldn’t get it done, he decided it was time to give someone else a shot, went one reading of the situation, although one wonders what, exactly, Barry and Brisson were going to do that Lupien couldn’t. Is Barry Superman, and he can fly around the earth so fast he reverses time? Or maybe Brisson will help Luongo disappear into a new life as grizzled longshore worker Rory B. Bellows?
One imagines a scenario where Barry and Brisson study the contract in search of an out, then Barry looks up, the answer finally coming to him, and shouts, “Take to the sea!”
But nothing quite so drastic is likely to happen. On Thursday, Brisson spoke for Luongo for the first time and, if anything, Vancouver fans should feel more settled, not less.
Brisson didn’t promise that Luongo won’t pull an Austin Krause on opening night, scoring on his own goal before flipping off the coaching staff and bailing through the Zamboni door. But he did say Luongo was planning to be here in September, which seems pretty notable.
“Roberto has a contract and is preparing to be at training camp,” said Brisson, adding that he and Barry were still planning to speak to Gillis and Laurence Gilman next week. More from Brisson, via TSN:
Luongo parted ways with long-time agent Gilles Lupien earlier this week and switched to CAA, prompting some to immediately speculate that he could still be looking to part ways with the Canucks. But Brisson says the move was just about getting new people to represent him.
“He has been through a lot the past 18 to 24 months and needed a different voice and sounding board,” he explained to TSN.
That makes a lot of sense. Obviously, I’m not in Roberto Luongo’s head, but I can tell you that if I had mentally checked out of Vancouver and was forced to check back in, it would be a lot easier to do if I made some changes so it at least felt like a fresh start. A new agent is one such big change. Trading Alain Vigneault working on a lozenge for John Tortorella shouting until he needs one will likely help with that transition as well.
Plus he gets a new backup, and it sounds like Luongo wants to get out in front of the situation this time.
Hey @eddielack I’m warning you now! Don’t get any ideas this upcoming season!!! Got it???
— Strombone (@strombone1) July 25, 2013
Although Lack will not be bullied. He’s no shrinking violet, especially online.
— Eddie Lack (@eddielack) July 26, 2013
If this is the tandem, it goes without saying that the Canucks have the best goalie combination in the NHL, Twitter-wise.
Finally, if Thursday is any indication, Luongo’s choice to make an agency change was a wise one. After all, his first day on the job, Brisson managed to calm everything down, establishing that Luongo plans be here in the fall. Was that so hard?
Meanwhile, Former agent Lupien spoke to the media as well, and his quotes were a whole lot more incendiary. From the Globe & Mail:
“I played on a team [Montreal] with nine Hockey Hall of Famers,” he says. “I’ve never seen a star treated like that. I think personally he’s been treated like a piece of paper, a fourth-line player.”
Lupien believes that in being so public for so long about the possibilities of a trade, the team undermined its own player. The media turned on Luongo, the fans turned on him, and there was no escape. He was like “a cornered rat,” Lupien says.
It goes on.
But hopefully, with this change and with Brisson’s good news, the Roberto Luongo soap opera is finally wrapping up.